- Title: Timeline explains the unfolding of South Korea's influence-peddling scandal
- Date: 5th January 2017
- Summary: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (RECENT - DECEMBER 9, 2016) (REUTERS) **** WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY **** MEETING IN PROGRESS HWANG SPEAKING AS SOUTH KOREAN OFFICIALS SEATED SOUTH KOREAN OFFICIALS A few hours after the impeachment vote, South Korean Prime Minister and acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, took over as acting president. President Park met her ministers and asked them to work with the prime minister to avoid any vacuum in national security matters and the economy. Park added she would prepare for a court review of the impeachment motion. Hwang held an emergency cabinet meeting and said he would do his best to ensure a stable government continued to function.
- Embargoed: 20th January 2017 02:26
- Keywords: South Korea influence peddling scandal Park Geun-hye timeline political scandal Choi Soon-sil impeachment President Park scandal
- Location: SEOUL, INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA / AALBORG, DENMARK / HAGEN, GERMANY
- City: SEOUL, INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA / AALBORG, DENMARK / HAGEN, GERMANY
- Country: South Korea
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0095XSZTJ9
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: South Korean President Park Geun-hye has been impeached by parliament over her role in an influence-peddling scandal linked to her friend Choi Soon-sil, and now awaits a Constitutional Court review of that decision.
If upheld it would make her the first democratically-elected South Korean leader to leave office in disgrace.
Park, 64, is accused of colluding with Choi to pressure big businesses including Samsung to make contributions to non-profit foundations backing presidential initiatives.
Park has denied wrongdoing but apologised for carelessness in her ties with Choi, a friend for four decades, who has also denied wrongdoing. Choi is in detention while on trial.
The scandal has drawn hundreds of thousands of protesters onto the streets of Seoul for weekly demonstrations demanding their president step down immediately.
A South Korean court has issued arrest warrants for two former presidential aides under investigation in the scandal.
Ahn Chong-bum faces charges of abuse of power and attempted extortion. Jeong Ho-seong was arrested on suspicion of leaking classified information.
Park's powers have been suspended and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn took over as acting president after 234 of parliament's 300 members voted to impeach her, meaning more than 60 members of her own party backed the motion against her.
Last month, the heads of nine of the biggest conglomerates, or chaebol, were subjected to an unprecedented 13-hour grilling by a parliamentary panel investigating the scandal. The nine groups have revenue of 910.5 trillion won ($780 billion), equivalent to more than half of South Korea's GDP.
While no executives have been charged with wrongdoing, many have been questioned by investigators and the offices of the Samsung, Lotte and SK groups were raided.
A special prosecutor's investigation into the scandal started last month.
The chairman of the world's third-largest pension fund, the National Pension Service (NPS), Moon Hyung-pyo, was arrested as special prosecutors have been looking into whether he pressured the pension fund to support the $8 billion merger last year of two Samsung Group affiliates.
Choi's daughter Chung Yoo-ra, a 20-year-old equestrian competitor who trained in Germany, is also currently being held in Denmark after police there arrested her on January 2 in the northern city of Aalborg.
South Korean authorities have sought Chung for alleged criminal interference related to her academic record and other unspecified charges.
Arguments at the Constitutional Court began on January 3 and closed shortly thereafter. Arguments will continue on January 5. Park's lawyer has said she will not be attending.
Choi and former presidential aides An and Jeong are expected to appear in the first hearing for arguments at the Seoul Central District Court on Thursday.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None